“We always want to win games. We always want to come in and compete and battle. We always want to be taking steps to get better,” said New York Liberty guard Sami Whitcomb after a tough 90–87 overtime loss to the Atlanta Dream. The score had been tied when the Dream’s Courtney Williams hit a three-pointer for the win.
“Obviously, we want to get wins as well, but I think we want to execute whatever our game plan is,” said Whitcomb. “I feel like my role is to provide energy and provide that spark, be the catalyst for those things defensively hopefully as well.”
Whitcomb had 19 points, five rebounds, three assists and four steals in the Dream game. Unfortunately, the Liberty were without post player Natasha Howard, who suffered a medial collateral ligament sprain to her left knee during a win over the Dallas Wings. Howard will be out of action for four to six weeks. Thankfully, the Olympic break is scheduled for mid-July, so Howard should be back in action for the playoff push.
It was a rough game for Sabrina Ionescu, who scored just six points. Rutgers alum Benijah Laney continues to be on a roll with 20 points (her seventh consecutive game with 20 or more points) and 11 assists.
“We’re very capable regardless of what anyone is or isn’t doing,” said Laney. “Everybody kind of stepped up, but it’s nothing to worry about because we know what kind of player Sabrina is and we know what she’s capable of and she’s definitely going to be there.”
Rookie forward Michaela Onyenwere was the Liberty’s high scorer with 29 points. “Having the confidence to take and knock down threes is really important, especially for my match-up,” said Onyenwere, who landed six three-pointers. “Most of the time, my match-up is a post player, so I have the ability to step out and hit those threes, and my teammates and my coaches have confidence in me to do so.”
Onyenwere said team energy remained good and that kept the Liberty in the game despite trailing by as much as 13 points. After coming out flat, the team gained momentum as the game progressed. “Obviously, it was not our day, but we’ll learn from this and get better for next time,” she said.
The Liberty has a game versus the Las Vegas Aces tonight at Barclays Center, and then heads out on a three-week road trip. The team returns to home court on June 22.